Marketing Insights from Mid Minnesota Marketing

Mid Minnesota Marketing is your local resource for Web Development, Social Media and Marketing.

"We help small companies do the things that make large companies successful, in a way they can afford."
Tim Haas | President

Sometimes Smaller Is Better

 

Does Your Hosting Company Care About You . . . or Just Your Money?

Massive hosting companies have thousands of servers that reside in various geographical locations around the world. Technicians punch the clock performing their duties never knowing who you are or how important your website is to you and your company. If something goes wrong with your site, you call a support number and talk to a "Support Representative" that will help you, as long as they have a script to read from.

You see, the big box companies don't hire expensive technicians to operate the support lines. They employ people with some computer experience, provide basic training and a script to follow. They look a symptom up in a book and follow the troubleshooting guidelines outlined for them. If they can't fix the issue they will put you on hold and check with their supervisor to see if there is anything else they can do. 

You just spent the better part of two hours troubleshooting with your support representative and they are unable to help you. Don't worry though, they will escalate your ticket to the next level. This means a real technician will call you back within 24 to 48 hours and help you. (I hope you are available when they call.)

Once connected with the technician, you have to explain your issue again and go through the troubleshooting steps you did with your support representative yesterday. At that point they tell you that they understand the issue and start muttering to themselves and you hear clicking in the background. After a while they ask if they can put you on a short hold while they check a couple of things. Eventually they do find the trouble and you are off an running again . . . two days after you first discovered the problem. 

Does any of this sound familiar to you? 

The Alternative . . . a Company That Cares About You.

I operate a small web development company, Mid Minnesota Marketing, and host my client's websites on my own servers. No that does not mean that I have a server sitting in the corner of my office subject to humidity, extreme temperatures and spilled coffee. I lease my servers from a server farm. They sit in a climate controlled room with emergency power backup and a team of technicians on site monitoring them. They are up-to-date with current technology, security patches are regularly applied and complete backups are maintained off site. 

Here is what happens if you ever have to call me with an issue:

  1. You explain to me what issue you are experiencing. I ask a couple of questions to verify that I clearly understand your concerns. I explain to you that I will take care of it and will let you know when the issue has been resolved. Your involvement is done. 

  2. I log into my server environment and begin tracking the issue down along with one of my technicians. 

  3. I call you back and let you know the issue has been resolved.

My team and I understand the importance of your website to you and your business. We are not going to waste your time making you wait on the phone, you have more important things to do.  Our goal is to maintain an optimal server environment that allows your website to function seamlessly allowing you to focus on other important aspects of running your business. 

Mid Minnesota Marketing provides quality web development and hosting services to help you succeed with your business. Call us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your web development needs.  320-582-2288

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Your Website Must Be Done Right

The Debate Is Over

As the internet grew in popularity and became accessible for a greater number of people, business owners began to debate over the necessity of having a website. Well that debate has ended and is far behind us. Of course your business needs a website. Today's consumers shop, research and make decisions based upon what they find online. You need good representation on the web in order to compete.

The New Debate

Now the question before business owners is how to best present themselves on the web. There are plenty of opportunities, but which should they pursue?

  • Professionally designed website with professionally written content and a strong SEO (Search Engine Optimization) foundation.
  • Do it yourself "easy to build" options provided by mega hosting companies.
  • Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites.
  • Blog website.
  • Online advertising.

The right Stuff

First of all let's tackle the inner debate on whether or not you need to have your website professionally developed. The key to a successful website is twofold, your potential customers need to be able to find your website and then they must find the information they need in order to make a buying decision.

  • FINDING YOUR WEBSITE
    It isn't magic and it doesn't happen by accident. Creating a website that the search engines can accurately index is a science. The search engines crawl websites collecting data and run it through proprietary algorithms designed to determine what your website is about and how it relates to specific key words and phrases.

    If your website ranks well for a search term or phrase, your site will appear on the search engine results page. Where it appears within the results depends upon how relevant the search engine believes your website is to the search phrase.

    Today's search engines rely on more than 200 unique signals when determining your website's value in relationship to specific keywords and phrases. Some of these signals are:

    • The written content.
    • Images & information related to the images.
    • How well written is the coding for the website, is it compliant to current standards?
    • Key words within the content. Are they used appropriately, too little, too often?
    • Is there a connection to social media?
    • How frequently is content added to the site?
    • Is there a call to action?

  • MAKING THE BUYING DECISION

    The buying decision can be a variety of actions.

    • If you have an online store you want them to add products to the shopping cart and complete the checkout process.
    • If you sell your products from a storefront, you want them to come into the store.
    • If you sell services, you want them to contact you to set up an appointment to either have the work done, or investigate further and get a quote.

A professional web development company, such as Mid Minnesota Marketing, will be able to develop your website in a way that will rank well and help viewers make the buying decision. The process is complex and requires a great deal of specialized knowledge and experience.

Do-it-yourself websites very often fall short and produce little or no results.

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS TO YOUR ONLINE SUCCESS

It is important to realize that all of your online business activities need to tie together. At the very least you should have a professional website and active social media pages related to your business. Part of the professional website should be a news and events area (blog). This is an excellent way to add fresh content to your website on a regular basis.

Other opportunities provided on the web include online advertising. This may or may not be a good fit for your business. Common forms of online advertising include:

  • Ads sold on search engine result pages, they are usually displayed above or to the right side of the organic search results.
  • Ad placement on other company's websites.
  • Guest blogging.
  • Listings and online reviews within directories.

Mid Minnesota Marketing has over 12 years of experience developing websites for businesses just like yours. Your content is professionally written and the website is constructed to help search engines properly index your site as well as provide visitors with easy and fast access to the information they need.

Call Mid Minnesota Marketing to develop your company website. 320-582-2288

 

 

 

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The Magic Bullet of Marketing

 

The Marketing Magic Bullet. Mid Minnesota Marketing | Hutchinson, MN 55350The Elusive Magic Bullet

As badly as we all want to know the one guaranteed method of reaching our ideal clients, there really is none, sorry to disappoint you. I may as well rub a little salt into the wound while I am at it. Marketing to our potential customers is far more complicated today than it has ever been before. 

Methods of delivering a marketing message and the public's manner in which they encounter and process that message has, and continues, to change with technology. Online social interaction, product research, education and entertainment are quickly becoming the "Norm". This leaves many of us feeling like we are floating in an endless sea searching for life boats. 

The answer is not to look for a single marketing avenue, but rather to utilize multiple media outlets tying them together.

Who Left The Door Open?

People today are in control of the media they view. Consumer's lead busy life-styles and are on the go. Favorite shows can be viewed without commercials by subscribing to online services offering their favorite programs at a time and place that is convenient for them to watch, and often it is commercial free. Just what is a business owner to do?

Grab the bull by the horns and change with the times.

I know you may not want to hear that, but in order to remain competitive you will need to change with the times. You must re-examine your ideal client's lifestyle and find the most appropriate methods to reach them with your marketing message. There are many potential methods:

  • Company Website
  • Social Media
  • Online Advertising
  • Re-marketing 
  • Apps
  • In-game Advertising

Ideally you will want to use multiple channels to reach your customers and connect each channel to one-another whenever possible. The idea is to reach them and provide one of two options, buy now or provide a means for them to learn more. To get a commitment from the customer who is ready to buy, you must provide a clear call to action. If they are not quite ready, you need to lead them to additional information that will help them commit to buying from you.

Your Company Website

I like to think of your company website as the center of all your marketing. It is the one place that is easily accessible and contains all the necessary information about your products and services to bring customers into your store . . . online or brick and motor. 

Your website needs to be modern and mobile friendly, the information presented must be meaningful, up-to-date and easy for both potential clients and search engines to digest. Solid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is necessary for the search engines to properly index your website. Without it, customers are not likely to find your website. For help evaluating your current website or creating a new website contact Mid Minnesota Marketing at 320-582-2288

Your Social Media 

When done properly, social media exposure can greatly benefit your company. Social media includes such things as:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • You Tube
  • Pinterest
  • Etc.

These social media channels can be an excellent way to maintain contact with the buying public. Information is quickly accessible and easily shared. One drawback is that social media posts can not represent everything your company has to offer. You need to provide a clear path from social media to your website. 

Online Advertising

One thing from marketing past that has been re-invented is the advertisement. You are able to place ads on other websites getting your brand out in front of people where they interact. Your advertisements can be targeted to reach people according to their interests and needs making them more likely to convert into a sale. 

Remarketing

When a visitor leaves your website or uses your mobile app, remarketing displays your ads across the sites they visit to draw them back to your site. The idea is to take lost website visitors and turn them into conversions.

Perhaps you have seen this in action when shopping online. You may have been looking at a product on a website such as Amazon and suddenly noticed that advertisements for that very same product and similar products start showing up on Facebook. This is not a coincidence, it is remarketing. 

Company Apps 

An "app" or application is simply a downloadable program that allows the end user to interact online. The list of applications that are available is absolutely endless and is only limited by your imagination. A company may use an app to help potential customers interact with them. For example:

  • A bank may offer an application that allows their customers to bank with them online. 
  • An insurance company may offer an app that will provide quotes for insurance. 
  • A travel agency may offer an interactive map that allows the public to tour the world and plan future trips.

In Game Advertising

This one may surprise you, especially if you are not a "gamer". The game industry sells advertising within their games where products and brand names are clearly displayed as part of the game play.

You may look in the background of the game screen and see a billboard with an actual marketing message on it. The characters may drink from a can with a clearly legible label of a popular refreshment. These are not simply creative ways to make the game world more believable, they are paid advertisements. Unfortunately this type of advertising is quite expensive and limited to big brands.  

The One Constant In The Universe Is Change

A depressing thought if you don't like change, however that is just the way it is. There is no magic bullet, never has been nor will there be. The good news is that you do not have to embrace change directly, you simply need to acknowledge it is necessary and bring in the appropriate people to to keep you current.

Mid Minnesota Marketing is one of the "go to" places to help you with your website, social media and online marketing needs. Call us today for your free no-obligation evaluation. 

320-582-2288

 

 

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THE NIGHT SKY IS FILLED WITH STARS - WHICH ONES SHINE BRIGHTER?

IS YOUR WEBSITE THE NORTH STAR - OR A BLACK HOLE?

According to Netcraft, a UK research company, as of August, 2016 their web server survey indicates that there are 1.285 billion sites and 6.1 million web facing computers world wide. To help put this in context, Dorret Hoffleit of Yale University has determined that there are 9,096 stars visible to the naked eye in both hemispheres combined. To get a visual reference to how big 1.285 billion is, take a photo of the night sky (both hemispheres) and superimpose it onto itself 141,270 times.

Does that make your company website seem a bit small?

THERE ARE TWO BASIC WEBSITES IN THE WORLD - THE ONES THAT WORK AND THE ONES THAT DON'T

A website that works is simply one that can be found. It takes a great deal of skill and experience to develop a website that stands out from the rest. There is no single  "magic bullet" to making your website successful, there are many things to consider. 

  • Design: The site must be designed to be user friendly.
  • Code: Your site must conform to the latest acceptable standards in code.
  • Content: Your content must be unique and of value.
  • Search Engine Friendly: Your site must comply to the standards of the search engines in order to be accurately indexed. Stray from that path and you will suffer ranking penalties that may even include being banned.

PARTIAL ASSEMBLY REQUIRED

Your best bet is to hire a professional web developer, such as Mid Minnesota Marketing,  to assure your website is properly built. Over the past 12 years I have worked with many companies that have tried to go the do-it-yourself route. I have noted a few things over that time:

  • The low cost, do-it-yourself service provider's concept of "easy" does not meet the expectations of the average user.
  • Above average users may be able to put together a design that looks pleasing, but it lacks usability and effectiveness.
  • The majority of people who do manage publish a site have little or no concept of how to make the site work for both the viewer and search engine.
    • The viewer must find the site useful  and the search engine must be able to accurately index the site.
  • The appeal to the "easy" solution is always the apparent low cost. However, there are a couple of ways they make up for the "savings" offered upfront.
    • They suggest to frustrated subscribers that they can build the site for them, for an additional fee.
    • After the basic site is built they begin to offer additional services. The site is built, but how will anyone find it? They offer to sell you optimization services, enhanced content, etc, etc, etc.

ARE YOU READY TO STEP UP YOUR WEB PRESENCE?

If you are ready to step up to the next level with your website, call Mid Minnesota Marketing today for an appointment. 320-582-2288.

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Check Your Website For A Pulse

Check Your Website For A Pulse!Top Ten Reasons Your Website Needs Attention

Just as there are dog years, there are web years. It has been said that a web year is equal to three months. That means if you last redesigned your website three years ago, it is 12 years old in web years! Would you leave a product display set up for 12 years? Then why would you let your website age as much?

Here are the top 10 reasons your website needs to be redesigned.

  1. Your website isn't performing.  A website exists to build your customer base. If that goal isn't being reached your website is wasted space. There are many reasons your website may not perform.
    • Poor design, not just appearance but marketing design.
    • Lack of effective call to action.
    • Your site does not speak to your customers.
  2. Outdated technology. It wasn't that long ago that downloading a photograph gave you enough free time to fix a cup of coffee and eat a donut. The web changes constantly and it is quite easy to fall behind.
  3. Is your website mobile friendly? This technology issue I will list separately, it is that important. Your site must be friendly to all the mobile devices your customers are using to access the web.
  4. New products and services. If you are introducing new products you will want to at least update your website to highlight the new additions. 
  5. Your marketing strategy has changed.  Most companies adjust their marketing strategy fairly regularly to keep up with changes in the market. Has your website kept pace with those changes?
  6. Your website is broken. Websites with broken links, outdated content and other issues are highly annoying to your visitors. Any kind of distraction is a reason for them to leave your site and look for the next.
  7. Your competitors have updated their website. Sounds kind of petty, but in the world of business you can't afford to look like you have fallen behind.
  8. Your website loads slowly. A slow loading website can kill visitor engagement. The rapid advancements in web technology have played a major roll in making people impatient. They want information and they want it now.
  9. New Branding. I cannot tell you how many times I see websites using old logos and tag lines. As your branding message changes you need to make sure your website changes along with it.
  10. Your website looks horrible. Your website is the storefront of the web and first impressions count.

Are you ready to take a closer look at your website?

We can help you examine your website with our free website analysis. Call Mid Minnesota Marketing to request your free website analysis. We will examine your current website and provide you with a free analysis of what is good vs. bad.

Set up your appointment today 320-582-2288.

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Its Gone! All Gone!

Don't become a victim of dataloss. Talk to Mid Minnesota Marketing about protecting your data.That sickening feeling when you first realize . . .

There is nothing worse than that tightening feeling of doom in your stomach when you first realize something with a significantly negative impact has just happened to you.

An otherwise bright Monday morning went south in a hurry for a client of mine as they discovered the hard drive on their main computer died over the weekend. The computer contained everything; their accounting software, email and business related documents. Can you imagine the horror of a moment like that?

Fortunately they had backed up their accounting software onto a flash drive before leaving the office on Friday and they lost nothing with that. However, they did loose all email records, contacts and business forms stored on the computer. Much of their data is gone forever, but they will recover. They will spend a painful amount of time rebuilding what they can and move on without the rest.

How can you avoid a situation like this from happening to your company?

There are a couple of things that can be done to prevent this type of event from crippling your business. Not very expensive, but very effective.

Email Vulnerability Solved

The company in this example opted to use a lower cost email package. With this package their email is managed via their computer using Outlook or other email programs. While this approach works fine, there are a couple of drawbacks.

  • Email messages are moved from the server to the computer that is managing the email. You need to have a local backup system in place to protect against data loss. (They didn't)
  • You are unable to access your email history and folders remotely. You must be on the computer used to manage your email in order to see everything.

The solution I suggested is to upgrade to our higher cost, more robust email package. This upgrade offers them a few more benefits along with the additional security.

  • Their email is maintained on our server and backed up regularly to protect against data loss.
  • They are able to access all of their email from any internet capable device. (No longer tied to a single computer.)
  • They get additional features such as Contacts, Calendar, Task Management and a Briefcase which can be shared with other members of their organization.

Data Storage Vulnerability Solved

To protect the rest of their data on the computer I suggested that they use an online backup service. There are plenty of them available and most are quite affordable. Even with the additional cost of the service, it is far less costly than suffering data loss.

I won't endorse any one service over another, but rather I suggest that you have your IT person do some research and find a service that offers a plan well suited to your needs.

Some things to consider:

  • Age and reputation of the provider.
  • Number of computers/devices you are allowed to backup and if there are extra charges for multiple devices.
  • How they protect your data against loss.
  • Cost.
  • Is the amount of space offered in each package compatible with your needs.

It can happen to anyone.

I understand the need for businesses to watch the budget, opting to use lower cost resources quite often is a sound decision. However, when talking about things as critical as data recovery, spending a little extra may offer you the most cost savings over the long term.

The company in my example is a very successful company that is well run and has been around for many years. It happened to them and can happen to you.

Call Mid Minnesota Marketing and let us help you with your website development, website hosting and email hosting needs. You may reach us at (320) 582-2288

 

 

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It's That Moment When . . . .

Your website needs to be professionally developed to reach its full potential.Terrifying, heart pounding, stomach aching moments.

I was recently at a Networking Referral Group meeting where I stood and presented my weekly 60 second commercial. I looked at the crowd of business people in attendance and and told them,

"It is that moment . . .

  • When you start brushing your teeth and realize that wasn't toothpaste you put on your brush.

  • At three O'clock in the afternoon when you realize you have been walking around all day with your fly open.

  • When you open the car door in a crowded parking lot and realize this isn't your car."

I asked if that was the feeling they had when last visiting their website. Did they notice it was lacking in interest or really not doing much of anything to draw new customers into their business? I hope not, but many business websites seriously lack power.

You have less than 10 seconds to grab your visitors attention. Can you do it?

Small business owners will often cut corners on their web development budget by using an "easy to use" template or having cousin Ernie's "techno" kid build the site. Inexpensive, yes. Effective, No. The site may look OK externally, but when it is examined from the inside out, it may be lacking in power.

There are some very common, and serious issues with this strategy.

  • Effective content: Consideration needs to be given to keywords & phrases, your call to action, frequency and positioning of contact information and more. Your content must be written in a way that will appeal to your customers and be easy for search engines to accurately index. This is not an easy line to walk.

  • Effective Layout & Formatting:  Does the layout of your website adhere to marketing best practices that are proven to help catch and retain the attention of potential customers?

  • Obfuscated Code: I am sure cousin Ernie's kid is bright, but internet technology is continuously changing.  Your website needs to stay current to allow for the best cross browser functionality possible.

  • Reliability: Will cousin Ernie's kid be available to help you when something goes wrong? What about getting help from the hosting provider that offer's those inexpensive templates? They say they offer support, but how fast is that support and at what additional cost?

Studies have shown that website visitors will spend 10 seconds or less determining if they want to spend more of their valuable time looking at your website.* For this reason alone, it is critical to enlist the services of a professional website designer.

Make the most of your 10 seconds.

Mid Minnesota Marketing has 12 plus years of experience developing websites and writing professional content designed to make the most of your 10 seconds. We believe small companies need to do the things that make large companies successful in a way that small companies can afford.

Call Mid Minnesota Marketing and take control of your 10 seconds. You may reach us at (320) 582-2288

 

* Study Source: Nielsen Norman Group

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When Is The Right Time to Rebuild Your Website?

Is it time to re-design your website?If you are asking . . . it is probably time.

The web changes constantly, a website built today is out-of-date tomorrow. Not to worry, that doesn't mean it is obsolete or an embarrassment to you that quickly. However, if you are questioning the quality or effectiveness of your site, it is most likely time to do a redesign.

Some clues that scream, "Time for a redesign!"

Today's website visitors are very sophisticated. They want the information they are looking for and they want to find it fast. The typical viewer scans your site, if you do not catch their attention within a few seconds . . . they move on to the next site.

  • Time:
    If it has been two or more years since you have re-designed your site you should give serious consideration to an overhaul. Trends and technology change quickly these days, falling behind can not only make you look bad . . . but make you a security risk.

  • Security:
    The older your website is, the more vulnerable it is. You may find that your site is ripe for hackers to use for spam and other nasty actions.

    A good hosting company, such as Mid Minnesota Marketing, will keep their servers up-to-date and secure as well as providing patches for your website when it is possible. But the fact of the matter is, over time your site will likely become more and more vulnerable.

  • Drop In Ranking: The search engines change their algorithms very frequently to help them better index your website as well as foyle spammers. If you are noticing that fewer people are finding your website, it may be an indication that you have fallen too far behind with your Search Engine Optimization.

  • It's Ugly: Perhaps the last time you looked at your website a quick thought shot through your mind that the site sure is looking old or dull. It happens, design trends change and what once looked sharp as a tack can look a bit dull today.

  • Non-Responsive: If your website does not format itself to display properly according to the device your visitor is using to view the site . . . you definitely need to redesign your site. If it is difficult to read or follow, they will move on.

  • Professionally Written Content: It is important for your content to be written in a way that catches the visitors attention when scanning, provides detail when being read and allows the search engines to properly index the content of your website according to its content.

  • Stale Content: If you haven't been adding content on a fairly regular basis, it has affected your ranking potential. Search engines like to see fresh content.

Time for a website analysis.

If you read through this list and noticed anything in the list applies to your website, the place to start is with a website analysis. Mid Minnesota Marketing offers a free website analysis that looks at these items and much more to determine the health of your website.

Call Mid Minnesota Marketing to schedule your free website analysis. You may reach us at (320) 582-2288

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Don't Look Behind The Curtain, It May Frighten You!

Secure and reliable web site hosting services offered by Mid Minnesota Marketing | Hutchinson, MN 55350Your web site is a vital part of your business and deserves to be treated that way.

Many people have confessed to me that they have absolutely no understanding of what is involved in hosting a web site on a server. Typically they don't want to understand, as long as we are there to handle things for them. We take great pride in the trust our clients have in us, and push ourselves to continue earning it every single day.

Safe & Reliable Hosting Services

Although Mid Minnesota Marketing provides you with safe and reliable hosting services, it is important for you to have a rudimentary understanding of what is involved. What is the magic that happens behind the scenes?

Let's start with a quick explanation of what a server is.

Basically a server is a specialized computer that is accessible through the internet. The job of the server is to hold the files for websites in memory, and send them to other computers that request the data. (for example, yours)

Most servers are located in a environmentally controlled room with many other servers, people sometimes refer to these facilities as a server farm. It is important to maintain an optimal environment as far as temperature and humidity is concerned to prolong the life of the server and help prevent equipment failure.

We avoid keeping your eggs all in one basket.

Mid Minnesota Marketing regularly backs up data from the server to a remote location. This protects your data from a localized catastrophe that may damage or destroy the main server. In addition to the backups, your web site files are stored in a manner that provides redundancy spreading multiple copies of files across multiple boxes. If one box fails for any reason, a second kicks in to carry the load.

We actively monitor our servers for performance and are immediately notified of any issues that may develop allowing us to respond quickly to any issues that develop. Hardware is updated as needed allowing us to provide the latest technology possible.

Technicians on site.

Our servers are staffed by technicians on-site allowing us physical access very quickly if necessary. Most of the functions of the server are software driven and are controlled remotely by our technicians.

Security

We regularly install updated software to block malicious attempts made by others to gain access to our servers and your website. Firewall software scans your files and reports any "red flags" allowing us to immediately deal with any possible intrusions. Protecting our resources from hackers is continuous task that is quite daunting, but that doesn't stop us from protecting them. Much of our overhead costs are related to security. We are committed to providing the best possible security for all of our clients.

Smaller Company - Great Advantage

Mid Minnesota Marketing only hosts websites that we develop. Our servers are not crowded and the fact that we built each site hosted on our servers helps us to maintain a secure, reliable hosting environment. Our attention is focused on your web site. We are directly accountable to you.

When you are looking for a web development and hosting provider, we hope you will recognize the advantage Mid Minnesota Marketing offers you. Please call us at (320) 582-2288 to schedule a consultation.

 

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Effective & Inexpensive Brand Recognition Advertising

High Visibility Advertising For Your Company

Monitor Advertising at the Hutch Bowl 320-582-2288You can't count on being in front of potential customers at the exact moment they need your product or service. You need a way to become recognizable.You want people to instantly think of you when they need your product or service. Well, that is called brand recognition.

I just finished creating the January Monitor Ads for the Hutch Bowl. I marvel at how simple, effective and inexpensive this type of marketing is for creating brand recognition.

As a business owner/manager, I am sure you keep a firm grip on your marketing budget and can appreciate an effective way to create brand awareness. The monitor ads at the Hutch Bowl are a great way to display your message to a large number of people daily.

  • Your advertisement is viewed approximately every 10 minutes.
  • Change your ad each month at no additional cost.
  • Large number of people viewing your ad regularly.
  • Full Color.
  • New monitors above each lane.

If you are interested in advertising your business at the Hutch Bowl, call Mid Minnesota Marketing at 320-582-2288.

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Help! My Web Developer Has Fallen Down On The Job And Can't Get Up!

Meeker Sportsman's Club Gun a Week giveaway in 2016Non-Profit In A Jam Needing Help

A good client of mine is on the Board of Directors for the Meeker Sportsman's Club in Litchfield. They are developing a new club that will offer a 400 yard riffle range, trap shooting range and other amenities. They are offering a raffle drawing giving away one gun per week in 2016, with the proceeds going to help with the construction of the facility.

Here is the jam.

A friend of the group with good intentions offered to build their website for them . . . it never got done. The ticket drawing is coming up in less than a month, there are tickets left to sell and they have promised to post the winners online after the drawing.

The Solution

Mid Minnesota Marketing was brought in and a site with basic necessities has been created virtually overnight. We will be working with them further down the road to add additional content to the site as they proceed in developing the organization.

I would like to suggest that everyone reading this visit their website and check out the information about the raffle. Post on your Facebook and other social media sites and let's help them sell the last of their tickets so they can get off to a great start. Click here to visit the Meeker Sportsman's Club website.

Lesson to learn

Sometimes you get what you pay for when it is free.

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Quick Tip

Grow your business by asking for referrals.

How to Get More Referrals

The most effective and inexpensive marketing you can do is to ask for referrals. Satisfied customers are often very eager to show their appreciation for your work.

Once you know how to ask, it is quite simple and will bring you more business.

 

 

 

Here are some quick pointers on how to ask for referrals.

  • Ask:  Make it a point to follow up with a visit or phone call a day or two after completing a project and ask them two questions.
    • Are you satisfied with the work we performed for you?
    • Do you know anyone we could call that would benefit from our expertise and services?
  • Use your business cards: Hand each client four or five of your business cards and ask them to give a card to anyone they know that would benefit from your expertise or services.
  • Follow up: Stop in, make a quick call or send a note . . . just follow up and don't let them forget who you are. With each follow up contact, politely ask for a referral.

It isn't rocket science, it is simply a matter of training yourself to ask for referrals. If they know someone looking for your services, it is very likely they will put you in contact with them. 

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Does Your Website Need to Be Entertaining?

Entertaining No . . . Captivating YES!

Your website visitors are much more sophisticated and impatient than they were in the past. Today's web users want to find the information they are looking for fast, easy and hassle free.

You must meet three basic criteria to satisfy the needs of your website visitors.

  1. Usability
  2. Informative
  3. Visually Appealing

Usability

With the development of technology over the past couple of decades a retraining of society has occurred. An overwhelming number of people have become impatient expecting immediate satisfaction. In my youth shipping products was expected to take a minimum of several days. Today consumers are demanding next day and even same day delivery.

Visitors to your website expect to find the information they are looking for immediately. If you do not grab their attention fast . . . they simply move on. There are several concepts you must keep in mind when developing your website:

  • Visitors scan, they don't read: Studies have found that website visitors scan a website looking for triggers that indicate they have found the information they are looking for. Once they have determined that the site provides information worthy of their attention, they will read content.
  • Avoid Clutter: Too much visual stimulation will distract the visitor causing them to miss the content they are looking for. A visually appealing site that directs your visitor's eyes smoothly to the content you want them to read will result in higher conversions.
  • Clear navigation: Don't make your site visitors search. Your navigation scheme should be clear and easy to use.
  • Responsive Design: Make sure your site will detect and display according to the format of the device your site visitors are using.

Informative

Your site visitors are looking for information, give it to them.

  • Visitors want quality content that is credible: Your site visitors want solutions to their problems . . . that is the product or service you are selling. They don't want to read a bunch of fluff or hype, give them the facts. Demonstrate how you are able to meet their needs.
  • Make it easy for them to get what they need: Make your contact information easy to find on every page of your site. Provide clear instructions on how to proceed . . . phone, online contact form or purchase online.

Visually Appealing

Make sure your site is easy to read and pleasant to view. Part of our conditioning has become to avoid things that are unpleasant or unappealing.

  • Place content "above the fold": Get right to the point and put the most important content at the top of the page. If your visitor is interested they will scroll down until they loose interest or make a decision to buy.
  • Make it easy to scan: Remember people scan, they don't read. Don't bunch information together in thick looking paragraphs. Use images, short paragraphs and bullet points.
  • Use color and design: Careful use of colors and design principals will help to grab your website visitor's attention. Use color and design to focus their attention on the content you want them to read.

By designing your website to help your visitor's find the information they are looking for quickly and easily, you are certain to increase the number of conversions generated by your site. Higher conversions mean increased sales.

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